Do Partial Matches Still Tempt You?

A partial match is basically a 7 out of 10 (or lower) – where you get much of what you want, but at least one significant aspect is missing.

Partial matches include:

  • Finding a relationship partner that you like and respect as a person but aren’t physically attracted to
  • Getting a job that pays well but provides no sense of purpose or contribution
  • Finding a cheap web host that provides incompetent support when you really need them
  • Using a phone that works except that the screen is cracked
  • Hanging out with friends you’ve known a long time but who are overly pessimistic and discouraging, especially when you want to do something ambitious

I’d say that the main areas where people fall for partial matches are jobs and relationships. That’s where people seem to get stuck most often.

A partial match isn’t something minor that you’ll get used to, like having to commute 15 minutes to a job when you really wanted 10 minutes or less. A partial match is missing some key aspect that you consider important and valuable. You’ll never be fully satisfied with a partial match. That cracked screen will always be present, and it’s always going to bug you to some extent.

Partial matches are obstacles to real satisfaction and appreciation.

Partial matches are also part of the scarcity phase of life. In order to accept a partial match, you must be unwilling (or think you’re unable) to create or acquire something better. This is a position of weakness. It stems from a mindset lacking in confidence.

Why would you keep using a cracked phone when you could replace it with a better one or get the screen repaired? That’s a solvable problem.

Why settle for a job that’s missing something important that matters to you when you could get a job (or start a business) that satisfies you properly? That’s a solvable problem too.

Why remain in a relationship that’s missing an important aspect that you care about? You won’t be satisfied with less. You can fix this too.

Partial matches aren’t necessarily easy to solve. It may take more work to find a solid match, but it’s at least possible. Moreover, making a genuine effort to keep looking for a real match is more satisfying than getting bogged down in a partial match. Real searching is more rewarding than settling.

Looking for a new phone feels better than using one with a cracked screen. Looking for aligned work or an aligned relationship feels better than showing up to a misaligned one. People start feeling better when they decide that it’s time to move on from the partial match, even before they find a real match.

It’s hard to engage in more looking unless you expect to succeed. And that’s really a decision. You must decide to move on from the temptation of partial matches and be done with them, at least in some important area of life.

The key step to making real progress here is to decide that you’re done wasting time and energy on partial matches. They don’t satisfy you. They just take up space in your life. They perpetuate scarcity-mindedness. They’re not going to magically turn into better solutions. The cracks won’t just disappear on their own.

As long as you’re still tempted by partial matches, you’ll continue to receive more of them, most likely cycling through more years of stuckness and dissatisfaction. At some point you’ll figure out that partial matches don’t provide the value you seek and never will, and you’ll decide that it’s time to be done with them. You’ll see them as unworthy investments of your time and energy.

When your partial match phase is over, your abundance phase can begin.

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Steve Pavlina

Steve Pavlina is an American self-help author, motivational speaker and entrepreneur. He is the author of the web site and the book Personal Development for Smart People.

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